AAA 400 Drive For Autism
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is making its first stop of the year at Dover International Speedway this weekend, and when it comes to building a winning DFS lineup at DraftKings, I like to think of Dover as a short track event.
Sunday's AAA 400 Drive for Autism is a 400-lap event, putting it on par with Richmond regarding the points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Much like Richmond and the other short track events, races at Dover typically feature a couple of drivers leading 100 or more laps, with the occasional dominant performance when one driver leads well over half the race.
With that in mind, the dominator categories have to be a big part of your focus when assembling lineups for both cash games and GPPs. If two drivers approach triple digits in DraftKings scoring or if one driver scores well over 100 points, you better have them rostered if you plan on having a profitable weekend.
For the most part, the drivers who lead the most laps at Dover tend to start in the Top 15, and many of them start in the Top 5. I won't be shy about spending up for two or three big names this weekend, even if it means taking a flier on a couple of cheaper plays to make the salaries work.
You can adjust the strategy a bit in cash games, especially with Dover studs like Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick starting outside the Top 10. However, I'd still recommend taking one of the big names starting up front to give yourself the best chance of gaining exposure to the all-important dominator categories.
To help you finalize your DraftKings lineups for Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover, I've highlighted my top cash, and GPP plays for the race, as well as some of my favorite lineup combinations. Get your lineups locked in, and good luck conquering the "Monster Mile."
Top Cash Game Plays
Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
No driver can match Johnson’s resume at the “Monster Mile,” and after the 10-time Dover winner cracked the Top 5 in both practices Saturday, he should be one of the most popular plays. Starting 14th, Johnson has a little bit of a safer floor than some other potential dominators, and he is always a threat to go out and lead a ton of laps here.
Kyle Busch ($10,400)
Busch put the field on notice when he grabbed the pole for Sunday’s race, and he looked plenty fast in race trim during practice Saturday. He is a two-time winner at Dover, and he has led 80-plus laps four times in the last ten starts here. In all four of those instances, he started in the Top 5. Starting up front, Busch could easily win the dominator categories. Meanwhile, his ownership should be through the roof, making him safe for cash lineups.
Kevin Harvick ($10,100)
Whenever Harvick starts in the middle of the pack, you can count on him being heavily owned in cash games. He is a no-brainer cash play at Dover where he has led 810 laps in six starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. His crew chief, Rodney Childers, tweeted that the car was good in race trim, so Harvick should be able to tear through the field. Harvick could still do a ton of damage in the dominator categories, and even if he doesn’t, he can use the place differential category to post a strong score.
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,900)
He is sure to be among the most popular plays this weekend, and why wouldn’t he be? Truex has been a force in the dominator categories all year, and Dover is one of his best tracks. He led 187 laps and won here last fall, and by starting on the front row, a repeat performance could be on tap.
Joey Logano ($9,200)
While he might not be running his best right now, Logano is always capable of contending for a Top 5. Starting 26th, he is a solid Top 10 away from being one of the top scorers at DraftKings. Considering he has nine finishes of 11th or better over the last ten races at Dover, I think it’s safe to say Logano will do just fine Sunday.
Clint Bowyer ($8,800)
His price tag might be a little tricky to fit into lineups, but Bowyer has one of the safest floors this weekend. He starts 22nd, but he has finished in the Top 15 in nine of his last ten race here, compiling a 10.2 average finish. He just needs to approach the Top 10 to deliver a solid point total.
Jamie McMurray ($8,200)
If you are looking for a mid-priced alternative to Bowyer, McMurray could do the trick. He starts three spots better, but the slight difference in place differential potential is coupled with a more affordable price tag. McMurray popped up in the Top 10 in both practices Saturday, so he appears to have a car capable of moving forward.
Chris Buescher ($6,300)
His price tag is certainly a selling point, and starting 29th, he has the place differential category working in his favor. Buescher showed Top 20 speed in both practice sessions Saturday, and he cracked the Top 25 in both races at Dover as a rookie. All signs point to him being a safe source of cap relief for cash lineups.
Regan Smith ($6,100)
Below average practice times suggest a low ceiling for Smith, but at this price, we aren’t asking for a lot. He starts 30th, so at the very least, he probably isn’t going to cost you points. Smith is typically good at avoiding trouble, and I think he can soldier his way into the Top 25 and end up delivering a useful point total while freeing up some cap space.
Top GPP Plays
Kyle Larson ($10,300)
With two heavy hitters on the front and a couple of big names lurking outside the Top 10, I don’t expect Larson’s ownership to be off the charts. However, he is still starting in the Top 5 with a car that has performed well all weekend, and in the spring race at Dover last year, he led 85 laps and finished second. He has the potential to win the dominator categories Sunday, and he is an excellent contrarian candidate to build around.
Matt Kenseth ($9,500)
Kenseth has been flying under the radar most of the year, but a breakout performance isn’t out of the question this weekend. He is the defending winner of this weekend’s race and a three-time winner at Dover overall. More importantly, Kenseth starts in the Top 5 with a car that cracked the Top 5 during practice Saturday. He is a sleeper candidate to win the dominator points and worth plugging into a lineup or two.
Ryan Blaney ($8,700)
He qualified 15th, putting him in that no man’s land of sorts when it comes to both the place differential category and the dominator points. However, Blaney has been fast all year, and after logging a Top 10 in his Dover debut last spring, would you be surprised if he delivered a Top 5 Sunday? I think his ownership will be relatively low, but Blaney has solid upside. He could be an X-factor for GPP lineups.
Danica Patrick ($5,900)
Even after qualifying back in 31st, Patrick isn’t likely to be a popular play because of her completely unpredictable results. On the other hand, she is a Top 20 finish away from posting a solid point total, and she has finished 21st or better in three of her last four starts at Dover. Patrick is worth a flier in at least one lineup, and if nothing else, she will free up some cap space.
David Ragan ($5,100)
His price tag and starting spot are both working in his favor. Ragan is one of the cheapest options available at DraftKings, and he starts back in 33rd. If he can just sneak into the Top 25, he will be worth the minimal investment. Guys like Chris Buescher and Regan Smith may have safer floors, but Ragan is substantially cheaper. If you want to top load your lineup, Ragan is the punt play that could help you do it.
Drivers to Fade
Kurt Busch ($8,300)
A quick look at his recent numbers is enough to tell you that Dover isn’t Busch’s strongest track. In the last ten races here, he has managed just one Top 10 and has led a total of eight laps. Starting sixth, Busch is much more likely to lose spots than he is to get the front and lead laps. For this price, I’m going with either Clint Bowyer or Jamie McMurray instead.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($7,800)
He is still searching for speed to run with the top drivers, and he is a ticking time bomb for lineups after qualifying 11-th. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him slide back outside the Top 20, and at that point, he is just barely going to break even. Even with his price tag coming down, I don’t see him being worth a roster spot.
Austin Dillon ($7,400)
Dillon will have momentum on his side after his win at Charlotte, but what he doesn’t have is a strong track record at Dover. In fact, he has finished 20th or worse in five of his six Cup starts here. Starting ninth, he is in serious jeopardy of losing spots and points in the place differential category.
Favorite Cash Game Lineup
- Kevin Harvick ($10,100)
- Martin Truex Jr. ($9,900)
- Joey Logano ($9,200)
- Clint Bowyer ($8,800)
- Chris Buescher ($6,300)
- Michael McDowell ($5,700)
Favorite GPP Lineup
- Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
- Kyle Busch ($10,400)
- Kyle Larson ($10,300)
- Kasey Kahne ($7,700)
- Danica Patrick ($5,900)
- David Ragan ($5,100)
Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup
- Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
- Matt Kenseth ($9,500)
- Ryan Blaney ($8,700)
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,600)
- Trevor Bayne ($6,800)
- Ty Dillon ($6,400)